- Sun, Feb 21, 2010
Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 20, 1875
Clara Morris - a terrible surgical operation - The wonderful surgical operation performed on the person of Clara Morris, the well known New York actress, in Paris, is described in a letter from a friend of that lady. "Miss Morris’ disease was curvature of the spine.Treated years ago, it could probably have been arrested, but it was a crisis in her profession, and upon success in surmounting many obstacles, her whole future seemed to depend, and she could not spare time for a medical treatment.
A sea voyage failed entirely to produce any change for the better, and a list of the highest medical authorities abroad confirmed her worst fears and condemned her to a horrible operation, the same which Charles Sumner submitted to, for the cure of the same disease. Its main feature is the burning of the flesh of the back from the neck down to the waist with red hot irons.
The operation was performed in Paris, in the presence of Mrs. Worthington, Miss Gabrielle Greeley and Sir William Belmore, the attending physician. Miss Gabrielle Greeley also writes a letter to a New Yorker in which she says "Poor Clara was obliged to sit on a low chair with her back bared, and she went through the operation with her face pale and rigid as marble. Dr. Belvin lit his furnace, and the roaring of the flames that was to heat the iron to a white heat in a few seconds was dreadful to hear, and while this was going on Professor Ball marked with a pencil the line the iron was to follow on either side of the spine.
Every touch of the pencil sent a thrill through the delicate frame of the poor victim, but the Professor had scarcely ended making the penciled marks when with a flash the iron was applied. It was dreadful. The white point seemed to sink an inch into the quivering form, and it was all over. The doctor said it was a wonderful exhibit of nerves."
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